Flights are an anxiety filled mode of transportation for many and the experience is made worse by having a horrible seatmate. After dealing with expensive tickets, long security lines, flight cancellations, gate changes, baggage fees, and difficult customs agents, peace is what you need to recover and keep up your leftover morale. Lady luck doesn’t always smile at you and on those days you will find yourself with the worst person next to you. The list below has been compiled so you can know what to expect on those bad days when your good karma meter runs low.
The chaotic family on the flight
It’s no surprise that kids get bored easily and having them seated for a long flight can be difficult. What makes the journey smoother is if the parents make an effort to occupy their child’s attention whenever they’re awake. Sadly, this isn’t always the case. Certain parents don’t even try to get a handle on their children. They don’t carry toys or gadgets that can distract the child and snacks to keep them full.
They let them run around and constantly kick seats while being too loud to ignore. Their vomit falls on you. What you end up with is screaming kids and lazy parents which will be infuriating when you have eight hours or more with no way to escape.
Body odor is natural, we are sweaty beings however there are ways to eliminate it or at least reduce it if you have a strong scent. However, there are people with terrible hygiene and seating next to them on a ten hour flight will have you begging to open the windows. They don’t bother buying a stick of deodorant in the airport convenience store or freshen up their breath yet want to speak. Some know their feet stink yet comfortably remove their shoes and let the smell make everyone but themselves gag. Add the hot air and stuffed space you will get constant flashbacks each time you book a ticket not knowing who will sit beside you.
The poot machines
Farts are normal, everyone does it. Good manners dictate when you are in an enclosed space with people you should locate a bathroom and let the gas out in there. On your flight, you might be seated next to someone who was never taught or doesn’t see the value of politeness so they will let out the rankest of farts. Your olfactory senses will be screaming but you have nowhere to go. The fart maker will not mind the smell; they will be nonchalant and ignore your silent pleas for them to go to the bathroom. They do it intentionally and believe because it’s silent you can’t tell who it is.
Having conversations on a long flight with the person next to you is polite and nice. It should be short conversations that have an end in sight if you show no interest in continuing. There are special kinds of people, especially older folk who love prattling on nonstop. They are socially unaware and no amount of discomfort you show on your face will make them stop talking to you. You being a nice person can’t tell them to shut up so you are stuck awake for hours upon hours listening to recounts of the old days and yesterdays. They often want someone to talk to, humans crave social interaction but you don’t want to be stuck next to them.
On a long flight, your body gets exhausted and you don’t have enough room to stretch. Seating next to a snuggler ends with a sore shoulder because they have fashioned it into a pillow. Like koalas with limbs wrapped around a tree, they only restraint that holds their body in place is the seat belt. You can’t shift to a comfortable position yet you feel awkward about pushing them from you if they can be so easily extricated. Even when you push them away they find their way back with their sleep unbothered. If you factor in the creep who does it intentionally, you truly are in for a flight from hell.
The food carrier
Certain foods that should not be carried into the plane to be consumed in an enclosed space where windows cannot be opened. Fish, certain cheese sauces, tuna, wings and vinegary salads produce a strong stench that those around will find uncomfortable. If you are ever unlucky to find yourself seated beside these types of foods being consumed after hours of being packed in Tupperware you will never look at those foods the same way again.
Food on a plane gets smelly and the smell amplifies more with proximity, how long it’s been packed up and the time they spend eating it. If you’re unlucky and get someone who eats in intervals your long flight will be hell. The smell lingers on the plane and after you de-plane.
The obsessive recliner
Planes have limited space yet this special duck ignores the comfort of others by reclining their seat. They’re often larger than you and have mean-looking faces so you swallow your annoyance while being squeezed. It’s not their fault their long limbs cannot comfortably fit in the allocated spot but their inconsideration is awful. Seats have room to recline yet that is not enough for them. It’s not just those who don’t fit. Some fit comfortably in their seats but recline their seats as far as they can.
The small seat dilemma
A person’s body and health are their business until it infringes on another which happens very few times. One such time is on an airplane. The seats are small which can be a great source of anxiety for a larger size passenger who cannot fit in that small space. On flights, they advise booking two seats which they might not be able to afford and is rather unfair.
This is all hard for them but as the person seated beside them you will endure a lot of discomforts. You will be squeezed into the window or dangling on the aisle seat with your but clinging on hard so you don’t fall. It is a delicate situation but until airplanes adjust some of their seat sizes you are in for an uncomfortable flight.
Masks are a wonderful invention to keep the spittle contained when you cough. If the person beside you doesn’t wear a mask yet constantly coughs and blows their nose you are more likely to catch what they are having if contagious. The air on planes is already dry but they don’t care enough to take the necessary precautions. They don’t wear a mask, don’t sanitize or wash hands and don’t cover their mouths. The added gem is when they cough while eating and your clothes get to partake in the meal.
The bathroom bunny
There’s nothing as infuriating as being constantly asked to move when you get comfortable. This flyer is a drinker, a fluid fanatic who keeps requesting drinks and the attendants have to provide great service so they provide an ungodly number of water, alcohol and other nonalcoholic drinks.
Once their thirst has been quenched for a moment they have to visit the bathroom to purge their bladders. Knowing how much they love doing so for some inexplicable reason they don’t book the aisle seat which makes moving around easier. Instead, you are stuck being asked to let them through until you can’t sleep or do anything that requires your undivided attention. They will continuously hop in and out of the lavatory so you absolutely don’t want them as a seatmate.
The flirty fish
When you board a plane you expect to sleep through it or entertain yourself. This is a solid plan yet you find yourself next to flirty Frank who tries to engage with you despite being shut down. The armrest is no longer a support but a barrier to how comfy the two of you can be as you get to know each other. You look down to find his creepy slimy hand on your thigh and a suggestive look shot at you.
Does he understand consent? Oh no, no, that is a foreign concept he is unaware of. You will be very uncomfortable and unable to let your guard down in case he becomes more explorative. He might even decide to set the mood by searching up porn and watching it at an angle you can’t ignore. You will be creeped out, horrified and traumatized in one go unless you vocalize your distress.
The debate champion
They have opposing political, religious or social views and want you to know it. This seat neighbor does not know when to shut up and if they do, they don’t care about your comfort. Their views on how they are right must be acknowledged by all who are around them. You will never forget this flight or carry whatever it is that triggered them.
A pin, key chain or phone case? Never again will they be anywhere on your person or your luggage for the sake of peace of mind. The self-satisfied expressions they have when you give up don’t mean they are done. For now that you agree their way is the right way, you need to be educated further. You can’t get away from them and you can’t pretend to sleep because they will wake you up.
The rude passenger
In any service industry, we have the constant complainer who thinks they know better than everyone else. Usually, you step out of the establishment if you have no patience for it however that isn’t the case with a plane. These people are ill-mannered with the crew, nag and complain about everything.
If you’re seated beside them you can anticipate them forcing you into their argument so you can side with them and if you don’t you get chastised. This is accompanied by constant grumbling about whatever they find to be unpleasant. Your medium volume is suddenly too loud to sleep through and your three bathroom breaks have been upgraded to an every-second disturbance in their mind.
Long flights are already a lot to handle but a horrible seatmate makes the experience worse. It takes away the love of long trips. Worse is that you aren’t always privy to who is next to you unless you’ve booked all the seats.